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REELING and SLIDING

Sometimes life comes at one a bit fast with interesting results. The Holiday season is coming and a house full of visitors are due. We are a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-gender, multi-racial family and it all takes a bit of organizing. So it was that we moved things around and cleared closets to accommodate their kit. As a result I discovered a valuable nautical collection, - but one digresses. On getting my British 2nd. Mates Certificate of Competency and starting to sail as a full-time Deck Officer I decided to head for New Zealand.
In those days the Union Steamship Company of NZ had three and then two year contracts. Quite often the idea was to join a new vessel in UK and take it from the builders yard to NZ then remain until completing the contract term. In my case there was not a vessel ready and so the USSCo. sent me out as a passenger in the TSS "Rangitiki" of the New Zealand Shipping Company. As you can imagine one was quite disappointed in not being able to work delivering a ship!! So there I was, lying about the decks of one of the worlds best passenger ships of the 1950's British Merchant Navy. Complete with a live bugler to pipe meal times and other activities such as Boat Drill, ah! such suffering! Six weeks of steaming from London, down The Channel across the South Atlantic, through the Caribbean refuel at Curacao and on to transit the then US Panama Canal. Across the Pacific Ocean via Tahiti, a Pitcairn call and then early one morning anchoring for clearance in Auckland, NZ.
Once ashore we were met by the USSCo. shore staff and I was assigned to the Wellington, NZ office. This meant a night train journey down the North Island ready to join the TSS "Tamahine" at noon next day. So it was that my journey to what became a fifty (50) year career at sea continued on this beautiful little passenger ship. She served as the link between Wellington on the North Island across the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. We crossed Southbound one afternoon and Northbound the next, carrying passengers, PMG mail, and a handful of cargo.
But what on earth has all this to do with cleaning my home office closet this weekend. If any of you have been fortunate enough to visit New Zealand you will know it is a stunningly beautiful country. So it was that I bought a camera and started a collection of photos which is what I found in a storage box in the office closet. I photographed in Kodak 35mm and there are nine reels of slides fortunately all carefully identified, - sometimes I amaze myself. They cover the years 1959 to 1968 all together total around 800 slides and those checked appear in good condition.
My plan now is to transfer them onto both the hard drive and CD's and Post those of general interest on NAUTICAL LOG. If anyone out there has information or guidance of how this is done I would be most grateful. Here is some valuable nautical history which we can all enjoy. One set covers a two year voyage in a British, Andrew Weir Bank Line, breakbulk cargo ship with heavylift capability a 100 tonne and a 50 tonne boom. We had British officers and "lascar" crew. Those were the Indian and Pakistani crewmembers with whom we had Chinese carpenters and fitters. As things turned out we were the last generation of this very common system in the British Merchant Navy.
If all goes well look for some Posts on these most likely in the New Year of 2009. If the results turn out to a good standard it might be worthwhile publishing a book of photos of a life at sea gone forever.
Good Watch.

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